An inexpensive journey into French theater at Velocity Dance

(Image: Courtesy Cecile Casanova)

(Image: Courtesy Cecile Casanova)

French theater is having a kind of renaissance in Seattle. On June 7, Cécile Casanova, professor at French-American School of Puget Sound will present two short plays in French at Velocity Dance Studio (8:00pm).

It’s an opportunity to practice your French or to sit and listen to lovely sounds. The actors are non-professional and some are students of the French-American School. It’s an inexpensive evening ($5) and the plays, if you understand them, may offer a lot. Casanova talked with CHS about the two shorts, the first a ten minute piece, the second about an hour long. 

La sortie au théâtre by Karl Valentin starts with a simple moment: Fanny tells her husband that their landlord gave them two tickets to go to a live show. Sometimes, the simplest thing starts the usual marital hassles. The husband looking for his outfit, the wife asking her husband to help choose her dress, and before they know it, they are fighting and running late for the show.

Les règles du savoir-vivre dans la société moderne by Jean-Luc Lagarce is summed up as: To be born is easy, to die even easier. The in-between might be complicated. The solution is to apply good manners. This was originally a forty page monologue for one actress. I adapted it for six actresses and one actor in seven different situations.“

Casanova was born and raised in Paris and has a Masters in French Literature from La Sorbonne. She also has been a drama teacher for years. This is an opportunity to both teach and dramatize. She is also a social and political columnist/journalist for the French review Vacarme.

Casanova says that she likes that the plays are different from each other, “yet, they do work well together. The play from Lagarce is a powerful play. Lagarce died of AIDS in the ‘90s and most of his plays speak about the inability of the main character to tell his family that he is sick. The one I chose speaks about how the society is creating social rules in order to anesthetize feelings, pain, and emotions. The absence of communication is the core theme of all his plays.”

Casanova thinks that the awareness of LGBT issues and the large LGBT population makes Capitol Hill a uniquely suitable location for the plays. Tickets are available by contacting Casanova at cecile.casanova@gmail.com or at the door.

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